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#12 Search engine optimization for your store

You might have noticed that we did not mention the first fields of the Web section, named, Url Options and Search Engine Optimization. The default settings are generally fine, but it’s still good to know a little bit more on this subject.

When working with Magento, or any other web solution, it’s very important to optimize your website for the search engines as much as possible. Although your customers and visitors are the most important, it will lead you nowhere if your store is doing badly in the search engines. There’s really a lot you can do in this area. As mentioned, by default, Magento has already enabled Search Engine Friendly URLs. This means that the URL shown in the top of your browser would for instance look like this:

http://myonlinestore.com/shoes/womens-boot-brown

Whereas a non-optimized URL could look as follows:

http://myonlinstore.com/ catalog/product/view/id/1537/category/28

 

 

The Use Web Server Rewrites setting is set to Yes by default in Magento. This means that the Search Engine Friendly URLs will be used, which is good, but your webserver has to support it though. When you’re working with Apache (or locally Xampp) this generally works fine. You should be able to find a file in the root of your site named .htaccess. Note that the file starts with a point and that it cannot have an extension (like .txt). Whenever you’re editing this file, you need to keep the name as it is.

There’s much, much more to discover when we are talking about Magento and Search Engine Optimization. We suggest that you first learn to use all the Magento basics in this book. After that, come back here and find more information on Magento and SEO using the following links:

http://www.wamda.com/2012/10/how-to-optimize-seo-on-a-magento-e commerce-site

http://www.boostingecommerce.com/ultimate-magento-seo-tips-and tricks-part-1-content

http://yoast.com/articles/magento-seo/

We continue to work in our settings page, in the Default Pages area. For example, it can be used to change which page will be the homepage of your store. In a default setup, we can leave it unchanged.

In the European Union (EU) website owners need to ask their visitors if they want to allow the usage of cookies. Cookies are small pieces of information stored on the local computer of your visitor. Magento uses them as well, so as an owner in the EU (or even if you’re outside of the EU but targeting EU visitors) you need to ask your visitors for permission. Since Magento CE 1.7 there’s a function for this, which you can enable the Session Cookie Management area in the current Web section. Set the Cookie Restriction Mode field to Yes, save your settings and look at the results in the frontend of your store:

search engine optimization

In the next part, we’ll look at the Design section. So save again and click on Design on the left-hand side. The first parts are used to set the design of your store and working with themes.

We’ll look at the settings at HTML Head, where you can set your Favicon icon (used by browsers) and more important, make some SEO-related settings. Enter your Default meta title and description, just like in the following example. You may also enter a couple of keywords in the Default Keywords field, but please be aware that search engines do not really pay attention to it anymore. So don’t overdo it.

search engine optimization 2

You may also use the Title Suffix field if you’d like to see your store name at the end of every meta title, but it’s not so common anymore to do so. Also pay attention to the Default Robots field. By default it will allow search engines to index your site. If you’re on a local test installation, you do not have to worry: Google cannot access and hence will not index it. But if you’re using a hosting company, you might want to allow or disallow access to your website.

A bit lower on the same page you’ll find settings for Header and Footer of your store. These fields also contain some default data that you need to overwrite with your own, since these defaults remain visible to your visitors. Note that the logo field can be overwritten, but then there’s no possibility to upload it. You need to move your logo image manually by using your FTP client to the correct location, which is skin/|frontend/|default/|default/| images. Note that this path is only correct if you are still using the default Magento theme. If you’re on a local installation of Magento, you can simply copy and paste your file to the correct location.

In most cases, you will not be using the default theme of Magento, but will have installed something different. If you plan to do so, it could very well happen that changing the logo of your theme will work differently. Please read Chapter 8, Configuring Shipping for further instructions on installing a theme and also read the theme documentation to find out how to configure it.

search engine optimization 3

In the next part we will discuss about Currency setup and SEO !


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